DO YOU WANT TO BE PART OF THE RETIREMENT REBELLION?
This week I featured in the Sunday Telegraph Newspaper in an article about the retirement rebellion and it has generated a lot of interest in what I am doing. Which is travelling around Great Britain in a motorhome championing positive ageing and challenging ageist stereotypes. I have also got several invitations to speak about my experiences and my positive ageing campaign.
This is good news for me because when I started my adventures just under two years ago I was not totally sure how I would get my message across; that it is good to age and we should be doing it positively, retirement should not mean that we are put out to grass. For me retirement is a chance to become the person that I always knew I was. I have the freedom to do what I want when I want, to be kind to others and to try to inspire others to live life to the fullest no matter how long they have on this earth. I want people to listen to that voice urging them to have an adventure, no matter how big or small, we only have one shot at this living lark.
At my work kindness was often treated as a weakness and ageist attitudes meant that I was often ignored and marginalised by bosses. Especially through the menopause and in my last couple of years. I felt unheard and frustrated that despite my experience I was excluded from major projects, quashing any chance of career progression in later life. This is what prompted me to retire at sixty and try to make sure things change so no other woman feels the way that I was made to feel. It makes me so angry when I think how scared I was at the time to speak up. Even though on the surface I appeared to be a confident woman, many times I was in truth a broken woman just hanging on by my finger nails to my everyday life.
It has dawned on me two years down the line in my retirement that, out of adversity comes opportunity, if I had not experienced those things I would not be savouring the moments of joy that I am regularly experiencing in my retirement. I am also spurred on more than ever to be part of the retirement rebellion, to encourage other women, both young and old, to not put up with unacceptable behaviour in work and not to fear ageing and retirement.
As many of you will already know through my last blog post, I am currently volunteering on a farm in Dorset. I have been here for nearly a month now and I have just over a week to go before I move on to seek other adventures.
During my time here I got back on a horse for the first time in over twenty five years and I loved it. I felt ageless, although I did walk like John Wayne for a bit when I dismounted. Depending on your age, you will know to whom I am referring, for those of you who do not know I suggest you google him. I am pleased to say I am also overcoming my fear of working around horses, I have been grooming them and sweeping out stables and I have never felt happier. One of the horses, Stanley, makes me laugh because he is so lazy. He sleeps soundly on his side in the stable and I even though he was dead the first time I walked into his stable. He does not move and actually snores when he is having his tail washed.
In my last post I mentioned that I had watched the equine podiatrist, Anna Curtis, working with the horses and I was intrigued to know more about what she did. With that in mind I did an instagram live with her ,which you can see on my instagram IGTV feed. It was so interesting to go into a bit more depth about exactly what equine podiatrists do.
It is not all physical activities for me here on the farm, I am so lucky that the owner Jan's daughter came to stay and she is a part time masseur, as well as a student at Uni. It was a sunny day, so she set up her massage table in the garden and gave me a much needed, Covid safe, massage, after I had spent weeks pushing that wheelbarrow full of horse poo up the steep hills.
Thanks to good old zoom technology I have been giving talks from my motorhome, with a slideshow, to WI groups about my adventures and how positive ageing is the best way to age. They have been really well received and I am looking forward to the ones in the future too. Overwhelmingly they like the proage stance and my message that we do not need anti ageing products, we need products that enhance ageing. We need to change the narratives surrounding ageing from a young age and stop all the negativity. We also need more positive images that truly reflect how we are really ageing nowadays. We do not want to be reduce to body parts, old feet in slippers or wrinkled hands holding a walking stick, in articles in the newspaper and magazines alongside the advertising industries.
Being in tune with nature here on the Dorset farm is something I always fancied but work got in the way. Now I sit out with my book and a gin and tonic, listening to the birds sing and I have the time to reflect on what I am doing. I get so many messages saying that I look so happy in my instagram (shuvonshuvoff) posts and that I am an inspiration. This this is exactly what I wanted to achieve in my retirement. Even though I have far less money than when I was working, I have more periods of happiness in my life and that makes it worthwhile. Too often we get fixated on STUFF and forget to live life.
I have been going for walks across the fields and enjoying the time to take in my surroundings. I lay down and watched the clouds dancing around in the sky above me. Something I love but have rarely had time to do.
I have lost count of the breathtakingly beautiful sunsets I have witnessed from behind my motorhome. I do not think I will ever tire of seeing them.
I am enjoying the simpler slower pace of life in-between my adventures in the countryside. Even shopping for food in the countryside is a mini adventure for me. Jan took me to a lovely little place called the EGG SHACK, on the side of a road. You just pull up, go inside and take as many eggs as you need then put the money in the honesty box. You can also exchange your book at the same time as there is a comprehensive selection of books.
That reminds me, I am slowly writing my book AGELESS FEARLESS WOMEN;You can do it too, about my life and the many adventures, travelling solo backpacking around the world approaching fifty, running marathons and climbing mountains, to name a few. As well as struggling during midlife and the menopause and retiring to travel Great Britain in a motorhome to age more positively. I know I need to focus more but as with my adventures my plan is to have no plan and to go with the flow and when it is done it will be done. Hopefully that will not be too long now. I am house sitting for someone in a few weeks, maybe then I will get the first draft finished.
In the meantime I will get the most out of my last week volunteering on the farm. I still need to get to grips with how to use a scythe properly and I have been let lose with a pick axe to do some digging! I am so glad that I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone to have this experience while I am physically able to do so in my retirement.